Sunday, December 28, 2008

Stop the Insanity

Okay, so it's always the chicken and the egg story, depending on whom you talk to...but the violence between the Palestinians in Gaza and the Israelis has to stop. Any sane human must acknowledge that shooting rockets at civilians is wrong...a war crime. Yet, that's Hamas' method. Now with the deaths of over 200 Palestinian people yesterday, the Israeli aerial bombardment in response to the rockets only escalates the violence and hatred. It's a cycle...a widening gyre.

If only the Palestinians would stop wishing ill and catastrophic devastation upon the Israelis; they need to stop the offensive, self-defeating propaganda trying to equate Israelis with Nazis.

The Israelis don't help their cause by bombing from on high. The violence needs to stop or, at least, pause.

(Imagine if there was mutual recognition...two states...people could interact to the point of speaking with one another. It might be spy vs. spy, but at least then terror plots could be thwarted at a "humane" level...without the collateral damage of innocent lives being lost.)

Just because you can retaliate with more force than the violence thrust upon you, is that the way? If so we must find a different way. Palestinians and the Arab world need to stop attacking Israel. Suicide bombing must stop. Teaching one's children to destroy themselves and others is not what matriarchy is about. We must speak our truths, learns each other's histories and live in mutual respect.

Mutual destruction is not sane. It's not the way for the future. People must stop teaching children to hate; people must stop demonizing others simply because they live on the other side of a border. People must stop teaching children that the other is evil, a destroyer. That other is the relative...and even, the mirror.

There is another of true strength and compassion.

How about all faiths having access to the holy sites that they share--that was the vision of Jerusalem's mayor, Teddy Kollek. As a college-student-abroad in 1984, I remember hearing stories of how the different sects within the Tomb of the Holy Sepulchre--strictly a Christian site in Jerusalem's Old City--had what you might consider turf wars...among clergy! One group got to sweep this area of the shrine while others got to tend to another corner. Then there's the Temple Mount on top of which the Muslim's built the Dome of the Rock (and Al Aqsa mosque) on the site of the former Jewish temples. Next to it about 50 feet below stands the Western Wall. When you're there in that tiny city it's heartening when there isn't strife going on.

Then, if people think that what's happening in Jerusalem is tricky, how about Hebron where the patriarchs and matriarchs are entombed. People have to find a way to share the heritage sites without feeling threatened or displaced. Lets all be good samaritans, as it were.

Let's have Muslim leaders (Palestinian and other) publicly acknowledge and teach in schools how the Jews are part of their own family returning home...not to displace them but to live in peace and harmony. Christian Palestinians, as a minority among Jews and Muslims, could remind everyone that Jesus was a Jew. Jewish leaders need to find ways to encourage Jewish youth to acknowledge the non-Jewish Palestinians' connections to the land. The New Israel Fund is one such organization...fighting for the civil rights of all.

Tzedek, tzedek tiradof! (Justice, justice you shall pursue).

[And before these traditions, there were others, too. It's interesting to see overlapping in different pathways.]

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